Sport Rugby League Set of Six: What we learned in NRL Round 7
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Set of Six: What we learned in NRL Round 7

Phil Gould
Phil Gould has had a huge influence in the NRL. Photo: Getty
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Last week we farewelled Greg Inglis, and this week it was NRL heavyweight Phil Gould.

Few can match the power and influence of ‘Gus’.

First as a player, then as a coach, pundit, broadcaster and administrator, Gould has been a fixture in the sport for 42 years.

That longevity couldn’t save him at Penrith this week, though, as he left his role as the club’s general manager.

While the 60-year-old claimed he left of his own accord with his job now “redundant”, the truth is he lost out in a power struggle with head coach Ivan Cleary.

For the past eight years he has been the top dog at the Panthers in terms of recruitment, strategy, hiring and firing and all off-field matters.

Many a coach has been the victim of Gus’s swift axe. Cleary himself suffered it in 2014. But coming back to Penrith this time, he was determined that would not be the case again.

Gould might be gone from the foot of the mountains but considering his positions with Channel Nine and Fairfax, he’ll remain an NRL power player.

Already he has been suggested as a candidate to replace NRL chief executive Todd Greenberg.

Dufty delight

St George Illawarra fullback Matt Dufty went through the full range of emotions in his side’s Anzac Day clash against the Roosters.

Dufty made several errors, struggled under the high ball and had a mixed performance. But in the second half, the 23-year-old produced a slice of magic that will live long in the memory.

In the 47th minute, he went on a freakish run, stepping Roosters left and right, to score a scintillating 65-metre try.

As commentator Andrew Voss opined, Dufty had “more steps than the Opera House”. It was the try of the season so far and one of the best solo four-pointers you’ll ever see anywhere.

Plucky Warriors and determined Dogs

Contrasting fortunes for the Warriors and Canterbury this weekend.

The Warriors have been under pressure and won just twice in 2019. But on Thursday the Kiwi outfit put on a determined display against Melbourne Storm.

They were gritty and hard-working, and were incredibly unlucky not to get the two points. If they can keep up that level of effort and intent, then good times are not far away in Auckland.

Just like the Warriors, the Bulldogs have not set the NRL alight this year. But they recorded win No.2 with a solid 24-12 victory over North Queensland.

Dean Pay might not have a lot to work with in terms of his squad, but he is showing his class with the way the Dogs are performing.

Chee Kam carnage

It was only a few weeks ago that we were heralding the tremendous display of Michael Chee Kam at Suncorp. So we can’t ignore the West Tigers player’s brain explosion off the field as well.

Chee Kam has been stood down after pleading guilty to common assault of a ride-share driver at Bondi Beach.

You have to wonder, when will these NRL players learn?

The scrutiny on NRL stars is higher, not lower, than the rest of the population. After the off-season from hell, they need to be squeaky clean.

Knights and Broncos bite back

A sense of relief has descended on the Hunter and Red Hill. Newcastle and Brisbane are finally back to winning ways after defeating Parramatta and Cronulla respectively. Boy did Nathan Brown and Anthony Seibold need these results.

The Knights were too good for the Eels, winning 28-14, with the much-maligned Mitchell Pearce leading the way.

Kicking on: Mitchell Pearce. Photo: AAP

The Broncos battered the Sharks, easy victories at 29-6, with bullocking forward Joe Ofahengaue in particular putting on a clinic.

Some pressure has been relieved at these two clubs, for a little way at least. Brown and Seibold can breathe easer.

Don’t write off Des

In-form and confident Canberra came to Brookvale Oval to face the might of Manly. Without Tom Trbojevic and Addin Fonua-Blake, the Raiders were clear favourites to notch victory No.6.

During the game they were 12-0 ahead, and the Sea Eagles also lost captain and halfback Daly Cherry-Evans to an ankle injury.

Surely Canberra would claim another win. But the men in maroon and white clawed their way back in, ex-Raider Jarrod Croker crossing twice.

With Marty Taupau and Manase Fainu dominating the ruck, Manly went on to edge it 24-20. It might not be the silvertails any more but this Manly side has guts and character.

Des Hasler is doing a fine job on the northern beaches and turning the likes of Corey Waddell, Jack Gosiewski and Reuben Garrick into quality first-graders.

Hasler might have had a few tough years at Canterbury, but he has found his mojo back at Brookie.

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